Help Your Dog Fight Cancer by Laurie Kaplan

Help Your Dog Fight Cancer

Empowerment for Dog Owners
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This comprehensive guide to canine cancer delivers standard veterinary information and advice in language that average dog owners will understand.

Kaplan (So Easy to Love, So Hard to Lose, 2010, etc.) has a background in editing veterinary school texts and writing about animals, but her experience caring for her late Siberian husky, Bullet, directly inspired this book. “About half of our dogs will have cancer in their lifetimes,” she learned, “yet most dog owners know little or nothing about caring for a dog with cancer.” Moreover, although some 10,000 dogs are diagnosed with cancer daily, she says, only 250 American veterinarians specialize in oncology. This book thus serves as a layman’s compendium about veterinary oncology, including information on diagnostic tests, treatment methods, side effects, and end-of-life care. As in humans, genetics and diet play a major role in canine cancer, but environmental carcinogens may be more influential, Kaplan says, as dogs are in closer contact with fertilizers and household cleaning products. Treatment options for dogs are also similar to those for people: surgery, followed by radiation or chemotherapy. Luckily, the author says, “Dogs tolerate chemotherapy better than people do,” with minimal hair loss and quick recovery. The book includes lists of symptoms and discussions of types of cancer along with italicized, often illustrated case studies from pet owners, which lend this informative text a personal touch. Kaplan also contributes heartfelt reminiscences of Bullet’s medical history; as a four-year lymphoma survivor, he was a successful outlier. She recommends comparing clinics’ fees and getting second opinions; to that end, she provides helpful sets of questions to ask one’s veterinarian. Getting chemo drugs directly from suppliers, she says, can cut costs, while complementary medicines and human-grade food can contribute to continued health. The book turns sappy when Kaplan discusses “pawspice” care and the “Rainbow Bridge” where departed dogs go—a whimsical shift after the preceding down-to-earth advice. Still, she reassuringly acknowledges that “the loss of a pet is like any loss. Grief is grief.” (Kaplan also mentions the Magic Bullet Fund she launched in 2004, which assists dog owners who can’t afford cancer treatment.)

An invaluable resource for providing top-notch care for man’s best friend.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2016
ISBN: 978-097547943-8
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: JanGen Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2016


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